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Old 15th March 2009, 05:39 PM   #1
pbleed
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Default Dutch Knife - ?

Friends,
Please allow me to make my first post tothis list. I will begin bysaying that I greatly admire the expertise and wonderful stuff thatis presented here. I only hope that I can make addtions that are worthy.
I would like reactions and information about a knife I have owned for some time. I read it as a "fruitwood"handled belt knife that had a beveled clip point, now significanlty reshaped thru sharpening. The carved handle has a roaring lion at the end. The handle itself has three (count'em3) female figures - 1 with 3 children, 1 with an anchorand a bird, and 1with a scale and a sword.
This brings to my mind figurally hilted Dutch swords. Am I at all close?
Peter Bleed
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Old 15th March 2009, 07:15 PM   #2
Matchlock
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Peter,

This sure is a wonderful knife, no doubt.

Although this is not exactly my field of competence I should attriute the item to roughly the first half to mid 16th century. It may well be of Dutch origin.

Are you sure about fruitwood? Looks to me like boxwood which was preferably used for carvings at that period of time.

I will try and look for similar samples.

Michael
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Old 19th March 2009, 04:30 AM   #3
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This is a most interesting knife, and since I honestly dont know much about these, I've been trying to catch up a little because I am hoping for some more responses here. I think that Michael's expertise with European art themes would be helpful here, as this hilt appears to be an example of genre or themed art often carrying these allegorical themes.

I very much enjoy symbolism in the decoration and motif of weapons, so would add some thoughts that may or may not be applicable here. Obviously there is religious Christian symbolism imbued as the number three in the figures; the anchor, bird and sword are included in Christian symbology, I'm not sure on the scale offhand, but seems as it would be as well in this context.

I'm not certain of the date or nationality, but certainly European, and probably of 16th and into the 17th century. This may be part of a trousse, which were of course often highly decorated, and most fashionable with the gentry. I'm not sure of the belt dagger designation, but understand these to be utility/hunting type knives which seem to usually have had relatively simple hilts, though indeed often with the clipped type point described.

The type of wood noted is interesting as well, and though I am not familiar with fruitwood, the boxwood Michael describes seems a very good possibility. It is interesting to note that boxwood is also known as 'dudgeon', and well known in the hilts of the notorious 'ballock daggers', termed 'dudgeon dagger' in certain of Shakespeare's works. These were in use from 13th c. well into the 17th. Boxwood is extremely dense and carves well, so was often chosen for other valued items such as chess sets.

I am not certain what is meant by Dutch figural swords Peter. Are these of a certain group and period? I'm really curious to find out more on these.

All very best regards,
Jim
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Old 19th March 2009, 08:01 AM   #4
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hello Peter,

I think the figural hilts you are referring to, are the ivory hilted carved hangers made by the dutch in ceylon (sri lanka) around 1650.
this knife also looks Dutch, the lion on top is a dutch feature, but it is of an earlier age, I think it can be dated around 1600.
All kind of woods are used in Holland for knifes and dagger also fruitwood.

regards from Holland
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Old 20th March 2009, 07:21 AM   #5
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Default dutch knife 1600

Hello Peter,

Herewith a Dutchknife with a similar lion from my collection.

regards
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Old 20th March 2009, 10:39 PM   #6
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Dear All,
Thank you all for the replies and wonderful reactions. Cornell, your knife is terrific. I think mine is probably a "poor guy's" version of that kind of knife. I pretty sure that the tip of my knife was made with a straight edge and a low clip to the point. Cornell's blade, however, suggests that it may not be as reshaped as I had thought. The comments also got me to study the difference of "fruitwood" and boxwoof, etc. So much to learn!
Thanks
Peter
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Old 21st March 2009, 01:27 AM   #7
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Outstanding match !!!
I am still curious about exactly what these knives were, belt knives as noted, or could they have been part of a trousse set. Seem a bit decorative for a simple everyday knife.
I'd like to learn a bit more about fruitwood vs. boxwood etc. I often wonder what makes one wood chosen over another, aside from obviously, availability. Apparantly boxwood carves well, and is used for chess pieces etc.

The selection of certain woods certainly seems to be potential for some interesting studies, especially as applied to use in weapons, such as the wood for the shillelagh (on another thread), ash for lances, the yew for bows, and in the case of boxwood (the 'dudgeon' of the daggers as distinctively mentioned in Shakespeare and other literary embellishment).

Best regards,
Jim
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Old 21st March 2009, 01:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
Peter,

This sure is a wonderful knife, no doubt.

Although this is not exactly my field of competence I should attriute the item to roughly the first half to mid 16th century. It may well be of Dutch origin.

Are you sure about fruitwood? Looks to me like boxwood which was preferably used for carvings at that period of time.

I will try and look for similar samples.

Michael



Looks like a pretty good call there Maestro!!!!
Nicely done Michael, it appears your field of competence is much wider than your modesty will admit.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 21st March 2009, 05:10 PM   #9
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Hi Jim,

As to fruitwood vs. boxwood: I have no experience in carving myself but have read that fruitwood, meaning mostly pearwood and cherry, was preferred for stocks as they are pretty tough and hard, whereas boxwood, just like limewood (lindenwood), is said to make an easy carving. Also, the very color and the graining on Peter's knife grip both remind my of boxwood.

Peter, could we have a clear detail of the surface of the grip?

Michael
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Old 22nd March 2009, 07:49 AM   #10
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Default hello peter,the explanation of the symbols

Quote:
Originally Posted by pbleed
Dear All,
Thank you all for the replies and wonderful reactions. Cornell, your knife is terrific. I think mine is probably a "poor guy's" version of that kind of knife. I pretty sure that the tip of my knife was made with a straight edge and a low clip to the point. Cornell's blade, however, suggests that it may not be as reshaped as I had thought. The comments also got me to study the difference of "fruitwood" and boxwoof, etc. So much to learn!
Thanks
Peter


Hi Peter, I absolutely don't agree, your knife is beautiful and of a museal quality. I found a pocket knife in the Solingen klingen Museum (btw yours is a nicer one) with similar grip and symbols. I also found all the symbols used on a 17thC cup in my collection .please see picture for the pocket knife, it is damaged but you also can see the remains of the Dutch lion.

symbols on your knife:

1. female with children STANDS FOR C(H)ARITAS.... CHARITY
2. female with sword STANDS FOR IUSTITIA .....JUSTICE
3. female with the bird STANDS FOR SPES (esperans).......HOPE
4. last but not least the lion on top stands for Holland.

(also prudentia,fortitud,temperant,fides had their own symbols.)

the dating of early 17thC is correct,unfortunately it is not possible to say if this knife stands on his own or belonged to a 2 piece set.

in all aspect a remarkable knife in a very good condition.

regards from Holland
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Last edited by cornelistromp : 22nd March 2009 at 11:07 AM.
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